Monday 16 September 2019

'It was like the old days under Jack' - McCarthy hails Irish players after late heroics at the Aviva

Ireland's manager Mick McCarthy shouts on the touchline during the Euro 2020 qualifying draw with Switzerland
Ireland's manager Mick McCarthy shouts on the touchline during the Euro 2020 qualifying draw with Switzerland
David Kelly

David Kelly

Irish manager Mick McCarthy said the Aviva atmosphere reminded him of the glory says when he was a player under Jack Charlton.

And he praised the "durability" of his side as for the second successive occasion against a main qualification rival, they came from behind to plunder a dramatic, late Euro 2020 qualifying draw against Switzerland.

David McGoldrick's thunderous late header cancelled out Fabian Schar's slickly-worked lead goal for the Swiss to keep the Irish in the hunt for a Euro 2020 slot next summer.

"They had chances, we had chances," said McCarthy.

"We deserved it for durability. We kept going. We got a point against a very good side who dominated us for certain spells, a team with very good players playing for very good clubs.

"We set off playing one system, I changed it one or two times to try and settle us down. They have very good players but I’m proud of my players as well.

Switzerland's Yann Sommer in action against Ireland's Shane Duffy. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Switzerland's Yann Sommer in action against Ireland's Shane Duffy. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Boyers

"Our guys in the middle only had about six games tonight and why not play someone else I hear you cry? Because they’re my most experienced players.

"I’m proud we got the result, like we did in Denmark. Are we the best team in group? Probably not but we don’t half keep going.

"The fans made it a great night, a bit like the old days in my time and back to Jack's days so I’d like to thank them for that.

"We’ve had a lot of great goodwill despite other stuff going on. It has helped people believe in the team again.

"I’m delighted for David McGoldrick. He’s been excellent over the five games, centre-forwards like to score. All the heading practise worked.

"I said before the game I would have taken a point, certainly 1-0 down with ten to go. We’ve hit the crossbar, scored the goal and gone after them at the end of it.

"It was an Irish team performance that all the crowd appreciated."

Man-of-the match Shane Duffy declared Ireland had secured a vital point as McGoldrick’s 85th minute equaliser maintained the unbeaten start to Euro 2020 Group D qualifying.

Duffy turned in another commanding display as the Swiss threatened to overpower Ireland in a one-sided second half, with the Brighton defender keen to salute the spirit displayed by Mick McCarthy’s side.

"It’s a huge point," Duffy said. "We know they are a very good team and going 1-0 down, we saw the character in this team as we never give up. We kept going and kept going.

"It might not have been our night on the ball creating stuff, but we know what we want to get from the game. It was hard work, everyone gave 100 per-cent and put their bodies on the line and we got the draw.

"If we can add a bit of qualify in the final third, we will win more games. It’s a bit disappointing that we didn’t get our own game going, but it continues our unbeaten start and we know every point counts in this group.

"We have two big games (away at Georgia and Switzerland), so let’s see where we are after that."

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